IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Botswana as a Role Model for Country Success


  • Robinson, James A.


I argue that the economic success of Botswana can be explained by the historical development of its institutions which is related to the trajectory of the Tswana states over the past 200 years. These institutions created a much more stable and accountable government than elsewhere in Africa after independence with the desire and incentive to adopt good economic policies. There are two main lessons from this experience. The first is how successful an African economy can become using simple orthodox well-understood policies. The second is that successful development in Africa will be helped by a focus on the development of state institutions. Though Botswana inherited different institutions from elsewhere, it also built on these, in particular trying to create a national identity and to continually modernize and adapt institutions. There are many lessons for other African countries from these policy choices.

Suggested Citation

  • Robinson, James A., 2009. "Botswana as a Role Model for Country Success," WIDER Working Paper Series 040, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  • Handle: RePEc:unu:wpaper:rp2009-40

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kaufmann, Daniel & Kraay, Aart & Zoido-Lobaton, Pablo, 1999. "Governance matters," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2196, The World Bank.
    2. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson & Pierre Yared, 2008. "Income and Democracy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 808-842, June.
    3. Acemoglu,Daron & Robinson,James A., 2009. "Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521671422, March.
    4. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
    5. James A. Robinson & Q. Neil Parsons, 2006. "State Formation and Governance in Botswana," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 15(1), pages 100-140, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Abdullahi Ahmed & Andrew Hulten, 2014. "Financial Globalization in Botswana and Nigeria: A Critique of the Thresholds Paradigm," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer;National Economic Association, vol. 41(2), pages 177-203, June.
    2. Naudé, Wim, 2010. "Development Progress in sub-Saharan Africa: Lessons from Botswana, Ghana, Mauritius and South Africa," WIDER Working Paper Series 007, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

    More about this item


    governance; patrimonialism; state formation;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:unu:wpaper:rp2009-40. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mauricio Roa Grisales). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.